THOSE PESKY DUBLIN constituencies – they sure don’t like making up their minds.
But when they do, it happens in a flurry. Just when it looked like Dublin South Central might drag on for days, if not weeks, suddenly it was over. And the AAA-PBP’s Bríd Smith had triumphed.
The two candidates, after hours of sitting and waiting, at 5pm were suddenly called behind closed doors to view the result of the adjudicator.
When Smith, a trade union official, emerged moments later with fists raised the result was obvious. Cue jubilant pandemonium and a chorus of “the workers, united, we’ll never be defeated”.
“We’re in now, I’ve been elected, and we’re as big as Labour now and they’d better not forget it,” Smith said, all smiles after a situation that must have been tortuous. Her relief is understandable – before this Smith had contested four other elections since 1997 without success.
Fianna Fáil have said that water charges are a red-line issue – well they’d better bloody-well follow through on that.
We’ll be there, me and Richard (Boyd Barrett), we’ll be there to make sure they stick to that.
I promise to do my damnedest to represent you and if I don’t sure you can shoot me.
The situation was this: Smith had finished 35 votes ahead of Fianna Fáil councillor Catherine Ardagh two days ago in the race for the final spot in the four-seater after the 11th count.
Ardagh’s team came up with a block of 170 votes that they saw as being disputable.
The last few days have seen the adjudicator investigate those votes and come to a decision, which was arrived at this morning.
All day today however the South Central returning officer ran through every permutation of those votes to see if any could affect the result of the election. And there were a LOT of permutations.
And so we waited. And waited. And waited.
“I’m just absolutely frazzled with this,” Smith earlier told TheJournal.ie.
I’m tired, emotional, angry, hopeful, optimistic… it changes all the time, this has just gone on so long.
Ardagh was here but was nowhere to be seen until the candidates’ were called behind closed doors. Smith meanwhile sat with her supporters waiting for the interminable process to end. Her stablemate Boyd Barrett was there in support, as was John Lyons, the AAA-PBP’s defeated candidate in Dublin Bay North.
For the longest time we suspected that this could go the legal route.
One source from the Ardagh camp, who were packing a barrister in the RDS, had suggested that they might be able to argue with the contentious votes that the initial quota was incorrectly calculated.
That would have necessitated a recalculation of all the elected candidates’ surpluses. And how long that would have taken to decide would have been impossible to know.
It wasn’t to be. Bríd Smith has finally been elected. She might say it was worth the wait.